FAR 91.103: Attain and become familiar with all available information concerning that flight, including but not limited to:
- Weather reports
- Attain weather information especially temperature, airport winds, and winds aloft
- Fuel Requirements
- Alternatives available
- Runway lengths at airports of intended use
- Takeoff and landing distance information
Consider all possible information and scenarios and use good judgment to make a Go/No Go decision
- Pilotage: navigation by visual landmarks
- Dead Reckoning: navigation or position finding using calculations of time, speed, distance, and direction
Determine True course: the straight line you draw on your aeronautical chart, expressed in degrees relating to true north, based on latitude and longitude lines on your chart.
- Latitude: the lines running parallel to the equator (like the steps on a ladder or latty-fatty)
- Longitude: lines running parallel to the Prime Meridian (definite long tall)
Determine safe altitude to cruise, considering:
- East is Least, West is Best
- 91.159 VFR cruising altitude
- 0°-179°=Odd thousand +500 feet
- 180°-359°=Even thousand +500 feet
- 91.119 Minimum Safe Altitudes
- Emergency landing “without undue hazard to persons or property on the surface”
- Gliding distance capabilities of the aircraft
- Congested areas: At least 1,000 feet above highest obstacle
- Non-congested areas: At least 500 feet above the surface, person, vessel, vehicle, or structure
- Terrain-clearance requirements
- Visual references
- Oxygen requirements (§91.211): 12,500: <30min; 14,000 crew; 15,000 everyone O2
Insert winds aloft at your relative altitudes; interpolate
Insert expected temperatures for each phase and location of flight
- Knot: (kts) nautical mile per : 1.151 mph: most aviation speed expressed in knots
- Indicated Airspeed: (IAS) the airspeed shown on your gauge inside the cockpit
- Calibrated Airspeed: (CAS) airspeed corrected for instrument and position error
- True Airspeed: (TAS) airspeed corrected for pressure and temperature
- Groundspeed: (GS) the speed of the aircraft over the ground (as if it were a car)
- E6B: manual “Dalton computer” whiz wheel used for time, distance, multiplication, division, fuel burn, wind courses, ground speed, etc.
- No batteries to operate
- Aids in understanding the concepts of aviation calculation
AFM/POH/FIM: Airplane Flight Manual, Pilot’s Operating Handbook, Flight Information Manual-manufacturer’s publication that include information about the aircraft, performance, etc.
Pressure Altitude: altitude corrected for non-standard pressure
Calculate Performance information including pressure altitudes on the ground at all airports of intended landing and en route
Calculate True Air Speed (TAS) using the E6B
- Take planned IAS from AFM/FIM/POH for different stages in flight
- Set expected air temperature over pressure altitude
Ground track: the line the airplane is moving over the ground
Heading: the numerical degree the nose of the aircraft is pointing
Calculate Wind Correction Angle: aircraft heading needed to maintain straight ground track with winds aloft
True Heading: true course corrected for wind
Calculate True Heading and Ground Speed
- Align the direction of the wind with the true index on the E6B
- Mark the velocity of the wind away from the grommet (center hole)
- Align true course with the true index
- Place the mark at the true airspeed
- Ground speed is read from the grommet
- Wind correction angle is read from the mark
- Subtract on the left, add on the right to get true heading
Variation: the angular difference between true north and magnetic north; indicated on charts by isogonic lines (magenta dashed lines running north/south with degree indication)
Determine Magnetic Heading: true heading corrected for magnetic variation.
Subtract or add variation as read on the VFR chart nearest the route of flight (changes with position)
- East is Least, West is Best
- East is least, or less so you subtract
- West is best, evens are best
Deviation is found on a placard in the airplane and can be corrected in the aircraft.
Separate true course into legs, and mark on aeronautical chart (the map looking one)
- Using an outside, clearly distinct, visual reference, easily seen from the air
- Less than 30 nautical miles apart
Calculate (and inscribe) distance of each leg
- Repeat for all legs
- Add up total distance
- Insert Distance Remaining in lower box for each leg
ETE: Estimated Time En route
- Calculate time en route for the leg using the E6B
ATE: Actual Time En route
- To be entered when you actually fly the plan
ETA: Estimated Time of Arrival
- Calculated time of arrival at the end of each leg
ATA: Actual Time of Arrival
- Calculated depending on the actual time of departure
Insert navigational facilities information.
After you complete the plan, finger fly the plan Ask a million “what if” questions and identify the best solutions
- What engine fails right here along the route?
- What if I lose power after takeoff?
- What if my fuel gauge shows much lower than expected en route?
- What if my destination airport is closed?
- What if there isn’t any fuel at my destination airport?
- What if the winds shifted?
- What if Air Traffic Control reroutes me to a different route than calculated?
- Etc Etc Etc…
Conclusion and Evaluation: The more thorough a pilot can plan a flight, the more capable and aware you are of the situation. The more familiar you are with the situation and calculations, the better apt you are to make a safe decision if something should happen in flight that requires an alternative plan.